Tuesday, January 25, 2022

16. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. Jennifer Ryan. 2017. 371 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: First funeral of the war, and our little village choir simply couldn't sing in tune. "Holy, Holy, Holy" limped out as if we were a crump of warbling sparrows.

Premise/plot: Set in a "little village" in England during the Second World War, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir focuses on the dramas--little and big--that beset the community. The chapters alternate narrators; some chapters are diary/journal entries while others are letters.

It opens with the funeral of Edmund Winthrop...which happens to be the choir's last performance for the war....if the vicar has any say in the matter. But the community comes together to form a LADIES choir arguing that music is needed now more than ever. The choir brings together some that otherwise might not socialize together.

My thoughts: I really loved this one. I'm not sure if it's merely "love" or if it is closer to love, love, love. Usually I am skeptical about novels with multiple narrators. They don't always work smoothly for me. It can be--at times--difficult to get to know the characters and to be able to distinguish voices/personalities. That was not the case with the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. I found the characters to be well developed and easy to distinguish. 

There are a handful of stories that add drama and melodrama to the quaint-ish homefront setting. 

Venetia, one of our heroines, is falling head over heels in love with a super-mysterious painter who is traveling through. He doesn't seem to be the right class for someone of Venetia's standing...but the heart wants what the heart wants. And EVERY male wants Venetia. (Venetia reminded me for sure of Scarlett O'Hara surrounded by her beaus. She is a TEASE who enjoys holding the hearts of all the guys in town.) But it was hard to hate her completely because of reasons....

Mrs. Tilling, our middle-aged nurse, is what I imagine a much younger Miss Marple to be. (That could just be me though). I love how observant and yet how compassionate she can be. No wonder so many seek her out to confide in! I really, really love her story overall. It was very satisfying!!!

Kitty is just a JOY to spend time with....she is our youngest narrator.


© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Marg said...

This sounds like such a fun read!

Joy Weese Moll said...

I enjoyed this one, too. I agree that multiple narrators can sometimes be a struggle for me and ruin what would otherwise be a good story. But it worked, in this case.